A trifecta of lighting as art, science, and soul
After a year of Covid-19 devastation with the hospitality sector being up there amongst some of the hardest hit, those with the resources have had both hands firmly on the resuscitation pump of an industry at the verge of complete collapse. With hundreds of establishments closing for good, we’ve had the honour and great fortune of working with the masterminds behind an outstanding revival hub in the Mother City.
Signifying so much more than just ‘a beautiful new space’, pop your mask on and take a mosey with us through Local at Heritage Square. Although, signor/signora, you have full permission to pinch yourself for thinking you’re in an ancient leafy-vined piazza — least of all because of the 250-year-old Crouchen Blanc vine that’s still producing harvest grapes today. I mean… !
Said to be home to the likes of butchers, bakers, cobblers, and tobacconists back in the day, as the name suggests, it’s fitting in more ways than one that Local is all about shining the spotlight and breathing new life into local produce, wares, and industry. From the furniture and decor to what’s served in the restaurants and sold in the market, everything is sourced and made in South Africa. And! Everything. Is. Impeccable.
So when esteemed partners Liam Tomlin of Chefs Warehouse and Victoria Engelhorn of The Cape Heritage Hotel invited us to create the lampshades and ultimately define the lighting, not only were we ecstatic about the potential the space provides, we knew we had to produce something extra special to do it justice.
With five distinct areas within the space, this was an amazing opportunity for us to flex not only our authenticity of talent, but our understanding and ability to celebrate and use lighting as both an expression of art and a transformer of ambiance, powered by consciousness and a kind footprint.
With the flexibility to really carve out a vision based on Victoria and Liam’s broad ideas, we worked with the overall feelings of warmth and presence that we wanted the lighting to inspire, then set about fine-tuning this to complement each area. Are you ready? We’ll start in the market as entered from the understated back entrance.
Filled with a bounty of curated, fresh, locally grown produce and dry goods, you can’t help but be flooded by feelings of grounded vibrant wholesomeness. To dial up the market vibe and turn it into a 360 degree world of immersion where your head is turning in all directions to soak everything in, we made use of a bright palette to pick up on the products and materials for sale. The bulbous shapes of the shades (one queen mamma greeting you at the entrance, and three younger sisters throughout) represent fullness and abundance. Fetching inspiration from traditional market baskets as they develop imperfections with time and use (you’ll likely be handed one just like this inside), we incorporated intentional beadwork openings where the light pierces through within the woven design, adding character and unpredictability through meticulous detail.
Afterall, isn’t part of the delight that you never know what wares will be on offer when you visit a market?
Flowing through the market, three shades hang together above the checkout counter, their wavy shapes continuing the playfulness of unpredictability, with vibrant colours and large light bulbs casting clarity where it’s needed. Whichever way you look at these, you’ll always see a different shape.
At night when the market is closed off by a glass sliding door, it’s ‘lights out’ except for our feature pendants. Curious imaginations are invited to peer through and enjoy the shadow magic this stage of darkness provides our floating ladies.
As you exit the official market space you’re met with an impressive original exposed brick feature wall, with large skylights installed to accentuate the texture of the bricks. Here our intention was to really ground the wall and light the charcuterie stand by suspending neutral, sophisticated shades from the double volume ceiling for the wall to frame. We hand-picked the colours to make the brick really ‘pop’. While the personality of these shades really comes through in their texture, depending on which way you view life, you could see these as giant mushrooms, or floating bedside lamps! But back to their texture… look closely (perhaps from the mezzanine level up at Mazza) and you’ll see the double layered pendants created by a cross-weave over vertical wrapping — a nod to the knobbly nature of the bricks. Our chord, hanging, and installation partner, Creative Cables, finished these shades by pairing them with brick-brown and mustard cabling. Show us a more culturally charged and stylish spot to purchase cured meats… You can’t!
And if you feel like sitting down to share a few sublime plates of pure Moroccan Lebanese fusion heaven (you want the smoked cauliflower, the raw beef kibbeh, the sumac, onion & fennel salad… Oh dammit, you want it ALL!) make your way up the stairs to the mezzanine level above the market. But do take your time as there’s plenty to daze you on the way up. Taking inspiration from the angles and artworks in the space, as well as the conical moroccan tagine, the cluster of shades that light your way are made with two layers each: a feast for your eyes, with double perspective of the elongated collective as you face it straight on from the top.
Walking into this middle-eastern style eatery, you’re welcomed by the exquisite Houtlander furniture that lines this culinary passageway. Above, inspired by the shapes of Ethiopian coffee baskets, are shades in two shapes and sizes, because life doesn’t come in one shape or size. Least of all when you’re in a delicious, sharing melting pot! More easily absorbed when you’re seated at your table, these shades have a lot of interesting patterns and texture, including diamond weaves and openings on one side to let the light through; the colours carefully considered and brought to life by the creativity of individual weavers.
“A mural of the Beirut skyline on the main side wall of the restaurant. A mosque painted on the staircase behind the lampshades. Colours of saffron, grapefruit, turmeric, sage, bordeaux…” Liam Tomlin, Mazza
If you can’t tell, we’re utterly thrilled with this body of work; and truly proud to be a part of everything this bigger picture stands for. A true co-creation project involving the trust and creative licence granted to us by Victoria and Liam. From developing the moodboards, to the frame-makers who worked through the night to create shapes they’d never made before, and the weavers who wove up an absolute tornado, pouring their individual interpretations and imaginations into each shade, not one skill, one talent, or partner could have been done without. We can’t wait to see what we do next with our new weaving techniques and designs.
So if you’re curious about even one aspect of this flourishing souk meets piazza hub, do yourself a favour and head on over. Just be sure to block a few extra few hours out in your diary… trust us, you’ll thank us later.
Great news! You can shop our lampshades for your own space too.
Photo Credit: Claire Gunn